From 2019, the Moto2 World Championship will have a new soundtrack and a new engine provider.
Since Moto2’s introduction in 2010, the idea of the intermediate class has been to allow independent frame builders to develop a bike around a standardised engine and electronics package. Up to now, Honda has supplied the grid with identical CBR600RR motors, prepared and sealed by the Externpro company in Spain. That is due to change next year, when British company Triumph replaces Honda. The motors will be three-cylinder units based on the 765cc Street Triple, and with more power, more torque and more sophisticated Magneti Marelli electronics, the middle class should be faster, louder and a better platform upon which young riders can develop their talents en route to MotoGP.
Last week’s Aragon GP in Spain marked the official start of an initial three-year journey between the Leicestershire based manufacturers and Dorna, the people who run Moto GP. The man in charge of the project, Triumph’s Chief Product Officer Steve Sargent (pictured above right), handed over the engines to Dorna president Carmelo Ezpeleta at the Aragon GP and we caught up with him to find out some more about the project.
How did Triumph come about making an engine for Moto2?
Fundamentally we were aware that the contract for Moto2 was coming up for renewal and we were asked if we would be interested in taking the contract on and supplying the engines from 2019. Obviously, it was a very exciting opportunity for a brand like Triumph and we were very keen to have an initial discussion and to see where it took us. We then sat down with Dorna to see what they wanted to get out of it, and to also see what the opportunities for Triumph were when supplying an engine for the championship.
How long has the development process been from the initial meeting?
It was at the end of 2016 when we started having discussions with Dorna. There were many contributing factors to iron out from what power output they were looking for, but most importantly how will the engines ensure reliability and durability. So, we continued our discussions and presented them with the foundations that have materialised into the current package we have today.
Do you feel a sense of pride that a British engine will power the whole of the Moto 2 paddock?
There is a massive sense of excitement and pride within the company. It’s fantastic that Triumph is going to be involved in top-level racing again. Triumph has been involved in the Isle of Man TT, British and world supersport but, to be back at such a level as Moto2, which paves the way for future MotoGP riders, is incredible and we are massively excited about it.
Do you think we will see different riders excelling with the Triumph engine rather than the Honda, as the two engines need to be ridden in a different style?
It’s certainly going to be a challenge for all the riders to adapt to the style needed to fully utilise the engine’s torque, which is delivered in a very different way compared to the Honda CBR600 engine. So inevitably in racing, it might suit some teams and riders more than others.
Would you like to see a British rider, on a British engine, win the championship?
There certainly would be an immense amount of pride and excitement if that were to happen, but the fact that there will be 32 Triumph engines on the grid, making a superb sound and screaming down to that first corner in 2019 is something we are incredibly excited about.
In terms of the future, could we see a factory Triumph team in MotoGP?
We have always said, never say never and this Moto engine is the first step for us as a company. I think there is a lot of eyes on Triumph now that are saying, prove to us you can deliver. At some point, there will be a discussion to see where we want to take it next.
Will there be a Daytona 765 road bike?
In short, if there is enough interest then we would certainly consider it. Would I like to ride a 765 Daytona road bike? Hell yes, I would!